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Pansy Speak: A matter of trust

A matter of trust

Since Parliament has risen for the General Election I have been able to devote myself full-time to door-knocking in Botany. I really enjoy getting out and meeting people because it’s the only way to find out what the real issues are and what people really think about them.

The world is a busy place, with people working long hours or staying home to look after children or their family, and politics is often the last thing on their minds. I have relished the opportunity to talk about National’s plans for the future and to get grassroots feedback. The only dampener on what is an otherwise positive experience is that people often tell me that politicians are not trustworthy.

I am more than happy to let them know that Helen Clark has made trust a central theme of her campaign, and people tend to roll their eyes or burst out laughing when they hear this. Politicians need to do better by delivering on their promises. The past six years have been scattered with Labour’s broken and unexpected pledges which are blamed on coalition partners.

While MMP has delivered a diversified Parliament, with smaller parties represented, even the system itself is a broken promise, in that Labour has put off holding a referendum on MMP.

National has made a firm commitment to hold a referendum as a step toward fixing this broken promise.

My door-knocking has highlighted soaring crime rates and our shaky economy as two major concerns for Botany residents. Given Labour’s lack of action, they have scored very low on the trust scale in terms of acknowledging and finding solutions to these problems.

Our Asian communities also hold the same concerns, and they have been widely discussed at two recent political forums in Auckland.

The Korean Society and Ethnic Voice New Zealand hosted these fiery forums, with both attracting hundreds of interested voters who expressed their disappointment at Labour’s lack of action. These groups have worked hard to let political parties know the importance of our ethnic communities.

Crime statistics out this week show that violent crime has risen by 47% since 1999. Manukau City Council's response to the problems plaguing South Auckland has been to spend $3 million to provide private security.

Many residents in Botany have expressed anger that they will have to pay higher rates to fund this when their taxes already cover the police and justice systems. I have written to the Police Commissioner to ask for his opinion on the matter and to find out what approaches he has taken to understand why there are gaps in policing in Manukau City and why it is left to the council to fill them.

National has long recognised the urgent need to tackle rising crime. We are committed to giving police the tools they need to do their job, clamping down on gangs and the ‘P’ trade, making our youth justice system tougher, and giving victims more rights.

Labour has long ignored pleas for help from victims and the public. It is not good enough that Annette King, Labour’s Police Minister, has tried to blame rising crime on the sun and moon, instead of facing up to her Government’s lack of accountability.

Many Botany residents are also concerned about the current global economic crisis. New Zealand can’t be immune to the problems plaguing larger countries like the US but Kiwis can trust that National can lead the country forward to better opportunities.

The official confirmation that we are in a recession has highlighted the need for a strong economic plan, which National has already committed to providing. This plan includes bringing discipline to government spending, stopping the massive rise in bureaucracy and red tape, and investing in infrastructure. The other key part of our plan is to put the right incentives in place to encourage people to work, save, and get ahead under their own steam.

National is committed to ongoing programme of tax cuts, which will be implemented in April 2009 and in 2010. While Labour’s tax cuts have started to take effect, they still can’t be trusted to deliver after nine years of refusing to deliver any. In 2000 Clark called tax cuts ‘the promises of visionless and bankrupt people’, yet she welcomed them with open arms earlier this week. Michael Cullen has resisted cuts for nine long years, and was forced to implement them. Only because it was election year. Labour is not committed to tax cuts.

Now is not the time to shut up shop and blame the world economy. Now is the time to think smart, act rationally, and start building a dynamic economy that is resilient in the face of future uncertainty.

National understands the importance of trust and we will deliver on our policies if we are given the mandate by New Zealand.

Pansy Wong


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